Experience the Benefits of Nature with an Easy 10-Day Nature Challenge
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Do you ever find yourself scrolling through Instagram looking at an endless feed of alpine lakes, rolling green hills, meadows bursting with colorful wildflowers, and mountain peaks capped with snow?
You may not need a vacation, this just might be your brain’s way of trying to improve your health.
The Benefits of Nature
Studying the benefits of nature is a hot topic. The health benefits of nature have been proven through many research studies. In Japan, shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) has been a part of preventative medicine for over 20 years. In fact, shinrin-yoku centers in Japan offer curated forest bathing experiences complete with blood pressure stations so visitors can see the difference before and after a forest walk.
You may have thought that you felt better after spending time outdoors, but now studies have proven it. A team from the University of East Anglia studied data from 20 countries and gathered evidence from over 140 studies and found that spending time in nature “is associated with diverse and significant health benefits.”
Spending time in nature can boost your immune system, improve your mood, reduce stress, increase your energy level and your ability to focus, and improve the quality of sleep you get each night. Exposure to green spaces reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.
Why Do We Need Nature Now?
A 2001 study found that Americans spend 93% of their time indoors. There’s been a lot of developments since the 2001 study. In many cities you can realistically get away with never having to leave your home- you can have all of your meals, shopping, and even relationships delivered to your doorstep.
A 2018 study done by the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg found that the average American spends 22.5 hours per week online. This is a huge increase from their 2001 survey that found that people spent 9.8 hours online. A study in the U.K. found that one in five adults spends 40 hours a week online and that a lot of people are so addicted to their smartphones that they check them every 12 minutes.
All of this screen time has severe health impacts. It’s wrecking out mental and physical health. The good news is that you don’t need to head to the mountains. Green spaces in urban settings are just as beneficial as rural open spaces, and there many ways you can fit nature into your daily life.
The 10-day Nature Appreciation Challenge
I developed the 10-day Nature Appreciation Challenge as a way to incorporate nature into my daily life. I’m an avid hiker and backpacker, but when winter rolls around, the time change and the colder weather makes it difficult to incorporate “green time” into my life. I was having nature withdrawal and I had to fix it!
The 10-day challenge is a series of easy nature prompts designed to help you re-engage with the natural environment. These are activities that everyone can do- regardless of age, fitness level, or proximity to Instagram-worthy mountain vistas.
This challenge asks you to put away your phone and intentionally step outside for 10 minutes a day for 10 days. I think you’ll see a difference.
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